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May 13, 2012 Subject:
An extract from the preface:
There are several good systematic works on Indian ornithology, but the descriptions in these presuppose that the reader has the specimen in his hand and is able to examine it leisurely, feather by feather. To do this it is necessary to kill the bird in question — A procedure which causes pain to many and gives pleasure to very few. Moreover, unless the seeker after knowledge has some notion as to the order to which the bird he has shot belongs, he will find that seeking it out in the four bird volumes of the Fauna of British India series is a task almost as hopeless as that of looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. … The present book is an attempt at a key to the everyday birds of the plains of India, a dictionary of birds so arranged that the budding ornithologist is able to turn up any particular bird in a few minutes.
I would emphasise the fact that this book is a mere key, and as such is of necessity a collection of the dry bones of ornithology and devoid of any literary merit. The book will lose much of its value unless it be used in conjunction with other books, such as Jerdon's Birds of India, or the bird volumes of the Fauna of British India series.
… In conclusion, let me advise every one who wishes to "learn his birds" to procure Eha's [Edward Hamilton Aitken] Common Birds of Bombay. Most of the species dealt with therein are common all over the plains.
Table of Contents:
A. Hindustani Names of Common Birds
B. Classification according to Structural Peculiarities
C. Classification according to Colour
D. Classification according to Habits
Descriptive List of the Common Birds of the Plains of India
The book has no illustrations, but the descriptions are excellent.